Written by: Debra Driza
Published by: HarperCollins
Release date: March 12th, 2013
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads
Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.
Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.
Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity-style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit – it was exciting, and I enjoyed Mila as a character and as the narrator. But I’m kind of torn about my final rating… anyway, we’ll get to that in a minute.
One thing I liked about the book as a whole is Mila and her desire to be human. Once Mila realizes what she is, I found myself caught up in her feelings of confusion and denial. I found myself seriously thinking about the question of “what makes us human?” Is it our reactions and opinions and feelings? Our history? Our memories? Our way of looking at the world? I liked the way that question was addressed through Mila’s questioning her own humanity, and her unwillingness to accept that she’s an android.
So I liked Mila, BUT: I feel like the book is split conspicuously into two halves. The second half I enjoyed a LOT. But the first half… I had some issues, specifically with the other characters.
First of all, there’s Hunter – whom Mila immediately falls for, after meeting him a couple of times and going out with him once. Disregarding the whole instant-attachment thing, I just didn’t find Hunter all that interesting. There’s obviously something suspicious about him, which I guess adds a little interest, but really, I can’t bring myself to care. To me, it feels like he’s just… there. Other than the fact that Mila likes him, and he’s a bit suspicious, I didn’t think he was very interesting. Possibly if he becomes more interesting in Book 2, I will change my mind, but for now he stays in the issue-category.
The other character I had an issue with is Mila’s mom, Nicole. A lot of the first half focuses solely on Mila and Nicole, while they try to run away from the people who want to capture Mila. Yes, there is action and suspense during their adventures on the run, which is good. But Nicole just… lost me. I didn’t enjoy her as a character at all – she’s really secretive, to the point that I didn’t find her interesting or dynamic or very well-developed. Again, I didn’t care about her. And I didn’t fully understand or empathize with Mila’s attachment to her, since Nicole seemed to me to always be rather distant and not terribly mother-like. I guess we’re told that Mila remembers her being more caring before the fire, but we don’t actually see any of that first-hand, so her mom kind of just fell flat for me.
If I had to rate the first half on its own, it would maybe get 3 stars… maybe. Possibly I would need to cut to quarter-stars and give it 2.75. =/
BUT HOLD UP, because then we hit the halfway-point (almost exactly halfway, to the page), and what do you know? I actually start to – finally – really enjoy this book. I’d give the second half 4 stars easily, maybe even a little more. The action amps up, we’re introduced to other characters I did find interesting (yay!); and though a lot of Mila’s drive in the second half is to try and protect her mom, Mila doesn’t actually interact with her much, so that’s a plus.
I can’t say much about the second half because of spoilers… But I will say that the main reason I enjoyed it so much more than the first half, is because of Lucas. (Okay, there are other reasons, but they’re spoilery, so we’ll stick with ‘Lucas’.) There’s obviously more to him than we’re told, but he’s dynamic, sweet, driven, and actually well-developed – which is why I am much more interested in him than in Hunter. And I really, really liked Mila’s interactions with him: not immediately infatuated, but realistic for the situation they’re both in. So, yeah. Thanks Lucas! ;) (And before anyone starts thinking “Oh no, love triangle” – that isn’t the case here. Lucas isn’t really a love interest in this book… as much as I would like him to be.)
So, what with my maybe-three-star rating of the first half, and maybe-a-little-more-than-four-star rating of the second half… I guess I have to give this 3.5 stars just based on the math. But when I think too hard about the first half, I want to go lower, and when I think too hard about the second half I want to go higher… *SIGH* I’m very conflicted. Let’s stick with math. 3.5 stars.
I would recommend picking it up if you’re a fan of fast-paced scifi adventures – especially because I have a feeling Book 2 is going to be much better than this one.